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rv loan calculator

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How to use the RV loan calculator

Traveling in a recreational vehicle can give you a special kind of freedom on the road, and RVs have been growing in popularity for years. Whether you’re considering a motor home, travel trailer or camper, an RV loan can give you the financing you need to make the purchase.

Credit Karma’s RV loan calculator can help you estimate interest charges and monthly payments on an RV loan based on some basic info you provide.

Keep in mind that the calculator provides only an estimate. It doesn’t include factors like insurance, sales tax or registration fees, which can increase your upfront and monthly costs. Here are the details you’ll need to provide for the calculator.

RV price

The total price of the RV is the starting number you’ll use to estimate your monthly payment and total interest charges. It may include the RV price plus other fees charged by the dealer.  Depending on the type of RV you get and its condition and quality, prices can range from less than $10,000 to six figures.

If you don’t already have a particular RV in mind, you can simply enter how much you’re willing to spend on one to get started.

Down payment

A down payment is an upfront cash payment that reduces how much you need to borrow. Some RV lenders require a minimum down payment of 10%, but others recommend putting 20% or more down. Some lenders don’t require a down payment at all, but if you finance 100% of the price of the RV, you may end up owing more than what your RV is worth as it depreciates.

As you consider how much to put down, try to balance how much you want to borrow with what you want to leave in your cash reserves for emergencies and other vital savings goals.

Loan amount

The loan amount is the amount of the sales price that you’ll be financing with your new loan. You can typically calculate it by subtracting your down payment and any closing costs from the RV price.

Estimated interest rate

If you’ve already started shopping around for RV financing, you might have an idea of what your interest rate might look like. If not, take some time to research average RV loan interest rates and gauge the range of rates you could get based on your credit history, income and other factors.

You can find potential RV loan interest rates by checking with individual lenders. Take some time to shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders, looking for the best rate possible. Your rate will directly determine the cost of borrowing, so it’s essential to try to be as accurate as possible with your estimate to get a good idea of what your loan may cost you.

Keep in mind the difference between an interest rate and APR, or annual percentage rate. The APR takes into account not just the interest rate but also any fees that are included in the loan’s costs.

Loan term

Your loan term is how long you’ll have to repay the debt, and it’s expressed in terms of months or years. RV loans may range from several years to 20 years.

The longer your repayment period, the lower your monthly payment typically will be. But you’ll usually end up paying more in interest over a longer period than you would for a shorter term. In contrast, a shorter term will usually have a higher monthly payment, resulting in less interest over the life of the loan.

As you consider the best repayment term for your situation, think about your budget and how an RV loan would fit into it.

How to get an RV loan

If you’re thinking about buying an RV, here are some steps you can take to make sure you get off on the right foot.

  • Set your budget: Your monthly payment is an essential factor here, but so is the sales price of the RV. Think about your budget in terms of what you can afford to pay each month — and how much you’re comfortable spending overall. You’ll also want to consider other upfront and ongoing costs, such as sales tax, fees, accessories, insurance and more.
  • Prepare your down payment: Think about how much you want to put down, and make sure you have that amount in hand before you start looking at RVs. Remember that putting down more upfront will save you some money in interest charges, but it may not be worth it if it means emptying your bank account and having nothing saved for emergencies.
  • Check your credit scores: The higher your credit scores, the better your chances of securing a low interest rate on your RV loan. Check to see where your scores stand, and if it’s not where you want them to be, take some time to address potential issues with your credit to see if you can improve it. Paying off credit card balances, disputing inaccurate credit report information and getting caught up on late payments are all actions that could contribute to bringing your scores up.
  • Compare lenders: Different lenders have different approaches to underwriting and determining interest rates, so shopping around for your loan is key to finding the best offers possible.
  • Determine your loan term: Repayment term length can vary by lender and how much you need to borrow. When you’re thinking about the kind of loan you want, factor in how much you can afford to pay each month and how much you want to pay in total interest charges.